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Shamans of Tuva


This nOde last updated June 2nd, 2002 and is permanently morphing...
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Tyva or Tuva, republic in south central Siberia, in southeastern Russia. It is north of the Republic of Mongolia. Tyva covers a total land area of 170,500 sq km (65,830 sq mi). Kyzyl is the administrative center. High mountain ranges encircle the Tuva and Todza basins, which lie in the central part of the republic. Tyva has extremely cold winters and warm summers.

Tyva has a population of 306,300 (1994 estimate). Tyvans represent nearly two-thirds of inhabitants, and Russians account for nearly one-third. The Tyvans speak a Turkic internal linklanguage. The traditional religions of Tyva are internal linkTibetan Buddhism and internal linkshamanism. Agriculture in the republic consists mainly of livestock raising, hunting, and some grain farming. The chief industries are mining, woodworking, food processing, and internal linklight manufacturing. Tyva is administered by a president and legislative assembly. One of the 21 Russian republics, it has three seats in the Russian Federal Assembly.

Formed by the mixing of Mongolian, Turkic, Uygur, and Kyrgyz tribes, the Tyvans were ruled at various times by the Mongols, the Chinese, and the Altyn khans. The territory became a Russian protectorate in 1914. During the Russian Civil War (1918-1921), the Tyvans declared independence. In 1926 the republic became a semi-independent state under Soviet authority, and in 1944 it was incorporated into Soviet Russia. In 1991, after the breakup of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Tyva became part of newly independent Russia.

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internal linkRichard Feynmaninternal linkquantum physicist

The Republic of Tuva, a country in central Asia, first caught Feynman's internal linkattention because of his interest in stamp collecting. In the 1930's, the country, in what has been described as a "philatelic orgy," issued a number of off-the-wall stamps in odd shapes (internal linktriangles, diamonds, etc.) showing odd scenes (men on internal linkcamels racing trains, men on horseback hunting with airplanes above them, etc.). In1977, Feynman asked, "Whatever happened to Tannu Tuva?" His friend and collaborator Ralph Leighton helped turn the quest for internal linkinformation on Tuva into an adventure (as chronicled in Leighton's book, _Tuva or Bust_.)

When they looked Tuva up in the atlas, they saw that the capital was named Kyzyl. They decided that any place with a name like that must be interesting! Kyzyl-arguably a word without a vowel in it! They also soon found out that a monument near Kyzyl marked the center of Asia, and that some Tuvans sang with 2 voices-one voice usually a lower drone and the second voice a high-pitched flute-like sound, both from the same person. This information piqued their curiosity and things snowballed; they decided they had to travel to Tuva.

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In traditional Tuvan culture, music has been both an art and a technology. It is an expressive medium as well as a systematic means of achieving a practical end, for example, calming herd animals during the internal linkprocess of domestication or attracting wild animals during a hunt. It is through music that Tuvan herders traditionally expressed their sense of place in the natural world and venerated the spirits of the places and beings (both human and equine) that they most cherished. Khoomei or throat singing, the music for which Tuva is best known, comprises a kind of stylized musical onomatopoeia in which singers mimetically represent a variety of natural sounds: birds, flowing internal linkwater, the jingle of stirrups or a galloping horse. In all cases, the principle of khoomei is one and the same. Singers produce two, and occasionally three, distinct notes simultaneously by precise movements of the lips, internal linktongue, jaw, velum, and larynx, that selectively internal linkintensifyinternal linkharmonics naturally present in the voice.

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Ben Wa - Disciples Of Retro-Tech on Stray (2001)

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